Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service

County/North Florida News

Third Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Mark E. Feagle Keeping Safety First During Continuing Pandemic

Judge Mark E. Feagle
Judge Mark E. Feagle | Photo: Columbia County Observer

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Chief Judge Feagle announced on Friday that court proceedings, court hearings and evidentiary trials, will continue to be conducted utilizing audio/video technology with the circuit.

Chief Judge Feagle wrote, “Supreme Court Chief Justice Canady has issued several administrative orders outlining required measures for Florida courts to follow, including a four-phase operating procedure.”

He continued, “It should be noted these phases are separate and distinct from the State of Florida phases put into place by Governor DeSantis. Currently, all seven counties within the Third Circuit have transitioned into Phase 2 operations in accordance with the administrative orders.”

There are four phases of the pandemic pertaining to courthouse operations:

 • Phase 1: In-person contact is inadvisable, court facilities are effectively closed to the public, and in-person proceedings are rare.

• Phase 2: Limited in-person contact is authorized for certain purposes and/or requires the use of protective measures.

• Phase 3: In-person contact is more broadly authorized and protective measures are relaxed; and

• Phase 4: COVID-19 no longer presents a significant risk to public health and safety.

Chief Judge Feagle continued, “As we continue to operate under Phase 2 conditions, we realize that each county is different, and each county has its own dynamics with respect to the makeup of the courthouse occupants. The judges presiding in and over each county’s specific dockets will make the final decision as to when and how their cases will progress and only after conferring with the other participants involved. Although Phase 2 permits limited in-person court proceedings, all proceedings shall continue to occur remotely unless litigants or other court participants are unable to successfully participate in a remote hearing for reasons beyond the court’s control.”

Chief Judge Feagle explained that the courts will follow social distancing guidelines and that entrance to court proceedings will be limited to only the parties of the case and those entering the courthouse will have health screenings.

PPE (personal protection equipment) will continue to be a priority and the court and county staff will be cleaning and disinfecting the courtrooms daily.

Chief Judge Feagle concluded, “We remain committed to protecting liberties and resolving disputes with a priority given to protecting the public health.”

Comments  (to add a comment go here) 

This work by the Columbia County Observer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.


Make a comment • click here •
All comments are displayed at the end of the article and are moderated.